Today I participated in the Toronto Marathon on the relay team with Goodlife. It was my first experience with the relay and it certainly was an adventure! It seems getting to the transfer point was more of an effort than the actual 7km that I ran (the final leg)! Overall, it was a good experience but I don't think relays are for me. It doesn't have the same satisfaction and I was a little jealous of the snazzy medals given to the finishers!
However, I did get something out of the experience. I was standing at the 35km mark waiting for my relay transfer. We were having a great time cheering on the participants as they came into their final stretch and believe me, some needed it more than others! I was totally amazed at the variety of people - young, old, short, tall, pencil thin, pleasantly round - it was fantastic to see. Running 7km was the longest distance ever for my friend and she was in awe of the accomplishment of these people.
At one point, a young woman ran by and she did not look good. She was hobbling and cramped and didn't even seem to hear us as she ran by. She was strong and fit but just past the 35km marker she slowed and her body was forcing her to sit. She was fighting it and trying to stand back up but her legs just would not agree. Some people helped and then a medic arrived but she seemed to be physically and mentally defeated. She wanted to get up but there was no chance her body would cooperate. Her mental state resulted in her being more physical with the medics than I am sure she would normally be.
Witnessing this, my heart was broken for her because she was little more than 6km from the finish. Was this her first race? Has she already done a few and was going for a PB? I have no idea what her story was but I felt very humbled by how much respect we must have for the distance and the accomplishment. If anything, it made me realize how much I must keep to my running schedule and work on my mental training. I hope today she is feeling better and planning her next attempt with a fresh perspective.
Congratulations to all the finishers!